Then Moses presented the bull for the sin offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the bull’s head, and Moses slaughtered it. Moses took some of the blood, and with his finger he put it on the four horns of the altar to purify it. He poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. Through this process, he made the altar holy by purifying it. (Leviticus 8:14-15)
Relate: Mudblood. Four images come to mind when I hear the word. For most, only the first one is what most would think of. It comes from the movie Harry Potter. Hermione Granger has a mixed parentage. One of her parents is a wizard and the other, a “muggle”, a normal person. This makes her a mudblood because she has one foot in both worlds.
For me the earliest concept of mudblood came long before the advent of Harry Potter and back to when I was reading the histories of the Crusades. One of the chroniclers wrote that the “Christian’s” massacre in the taking of Jerusalem was so great that near the Temple, “men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins.” While this might have been a bit of an exaggeration, many others wrote of rivers of blood past their ankles in other areas of the city. What was supposed to be their finest hour was instead became a moment covered in blood and mud and shame.
React: This story here in Leviticus also immediately brings to mind the word mudblood. I can’t tell you how many times I read this chapter without really noticing it but once I did, it sunk in deep. Picture with me: Moses takes a bull, Aaron and his sons put their hands on it, Moses slaughters it. Then he does the same with a ram. Then another ram. Each time he does something different with the blood at first but he takes the rest of that animal’s blood and “splatters” it on the sides of the altar. Between the three animals that’s between 25-30 gallons of blood being poured out. Just imagine what it did to the ground. Their sandals. Their clothes. More than once they are being sprinkled or smeared with the stuff. I did a google image search for consecrating the altar and every image I saw kept looking so clean and formal. That’s not what I just read. It was a mess, blood was everywhere, covering everything. The ground they stood on… mudblood. That is how they are made holy.
The final image of mudblood comes from watching Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion. Even more it comes from the true Passion that took place almost two thousand years ago. There is Jesus on the Via Dolorosa carrying his heavy crossbeam to the place of the Skull. He is about to become my sacrifice outside the city gate. But already he has gone without sleep, he has been beaten to exhaustion and whipped to the point that some of his flesh hangs down in ribbons. Splinters from that rough hewn beam dig into his back. It would be impossible not to fall. And again. And again. The dirt and dust of the street mixes with the blood of the Son of God. Even more, the dirt and grime of my sin and yours mixes with the Holiness of God. He becomes mudblood. That is how I am made holy.
God, help me to remember that holiness is about separation from sin, not separation from this world. Thank You for making me holy, for covering me in Your blood. Help me now to take this blood and cover my world with it. I know it is going to get messy. But help me to remember that to reject that mess is to reject the blood that made me holy. Go before me, go with me, and clean up after me as I do my best to apply You to my world.